Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Ford and VW team up on EVs

Ford-VW Alliance Seen Amping Up Pressure on Other Automakers News Ford, Volkswagen to hold news conference about global alliance 1:12 PM, Jul 11, 2019
Russell Knight | 12 July, 2019, 21:54

The joint announcement focused more on the autonomous side of things but the two companies are not ignoring the electric auto side of the equation.

Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett (R) and Volkswagen AG CEO Dr. Herbert Diess attend a news conference in New York City, New York, U.S., July 12, 2019.

Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett said at a news briefing on Friday in NY he expects "chimneys of data that will be spewing from the vehicles" that will use Argo's self-driving technology.

This partnership is reflective of a broad industry trend of rival automakers coming together to work on autonomous driving technology.

VW's Argo AI investment includes $1 billion in cash, which matches what Ford first committed to the company in 2017, along with the integration of its existing Autonomous Intelligent Driving company that is now 200 employees strong.

The value of VW's contribution to the collaboration is more than $2 billion, including about $1 billion invested, said two industry sources who requested anonymity discussing the deal.

In addition to its own efforts to build electric cars, Ford will build a new electric auto for the European market based on Volkswagen's mass-market MEB platform.

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Ford hopes to sell 600,000 vehicles in Europe using VW's technology over six years starting in 2023.

Volkswagen will sink $2.6 billion into a Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle company that's mostly owned by Ford as part of a broader partnership on electric and self-driving vehicles, the companies confirmed Friday. Over the next three years, VW will also buy an additional $500 million of Argo AI shares from Ford. Much of the MEB's development cost could be recovered from the revenues generated from Ford.

"Our global alliance is beginning to demonstrate even greater promise, and we are continuing to look at other areas on which we might collaborate", VW chief executive Herbert Diess said on Friday. This brings the total investments into the autonomous company up to more than $7 billion.

Analysts at Citi said Ford licensing Volkswagen's MEB platform is a "transformational" step for both companies. They suggest they will share development of a fully electric vehicle that will come to market by 2023.

It was not clear if some of those future Ford EVs could migrate to VW's MEB platform, versions of which the German automaker will build in Europe, China and North America. That's the automaker's in-house autonomous vehicle development unit, which now has 200 employees.

The decision to team up helps the Ford and Volkswagen share the steep costs - and risks - of developing technology for driverless vehicles, and gives Argo AI more cash to attract talented engineers, crucial to success.

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